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The Columbian Exchange and Diseases
Current Syphilis Theories

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Pre-Columbian
Conquest
Post-Columbian
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Theories on other syphilis origins

Scientists disagree on the oriigin of syphilis. The mailine theory is that syphilis orginated in the Western Hemisphere, and was brought to Europe by the crew of Christopher Columbus in 1493. This theory remains the favorite of historians because written records of syphillis outbreaks in Europe do not begin until after Columbus's return. Also, there is a preponderence of evidence found in pre-Columbian tombs that indicate the presence of syphillis. This evidence takes the form of pitting of bones that is caused by syphillis. Syphillis in its early forms was much more deadly than it is now, for the bactiria that causes it.